‘Most wanted’ Morecambe arsonist jailed for seven years

Scott Cardwell.
Scott Cardwell.
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A violent arsonist - dubbed ‘Morecambe’s most wanted’ - has been jailed for seven years after he went on the run from the police.

Scott Cardwell, 32, was arrested on the cycle path in Morecambe after a dramatic manhunt which saw armed response officers search a bus, a caravan and a house in the town in a bid to track down the wanted man.

Preston Crown Court heard Cardwell, of Ruskin Drive, Morecambe, has a lengthy criminal record for violence and was made the subject of a restraining order against his former partner at the end of 2016.

But after an incident in February, the mum-of-two was left so terrified of Cardwell she spent two weeks living in a safe house with her children under 24 hour police guard.

Cardwell pleaded guilty to wounding with intent, possession of class A drugs, arson and harassment in respect of three separate incidents.

On October 28 Cardwell exchanged words with a man in a local pub, before launching a brutal attack on the man, as he lay defenceless on the floor. During the attack, Cardwell kicked and punched the man repeatedly in the head. He then stamped on him. The man suffered a badly broken ankle and had to have metal plates inserted into his foot.

Cardwell was on bail for the attack when he was seen dropping a small bag into an umbrella stand in a Morecambe pub on January 13. The package contained 16 £10 deals of cocaine and a further wrap was found in Cardwell’s sock.

He was again bailed but on February 2 he turned up outside his ex-partner’s home - ignoring the restraining order.

The woman, who was at home with her young children, looked outside to see her car on fire and Cardwell trying to smash his way into her home. Cardwell had smashed the windscreen and mirrors and had used an accelerant to start the blaze. Recorder Mark Brown, sentencing, said: “In my view that was an extremely dangerous thing to have done.

“The car was on the driveway and bearing in mind that you set fire to it, there could easily have been an explosion.”

The woman was so terrified she and her children spent two weeks in a safe house with round-the-clock police protection.

Judge Brown said: “She was obviously extremely distressed, very scared and that inevitably will have had an affect on the children as well.”

In the two weeks that followed, police hunted for Cardwell. While he was on the run he sent a string of text and Facebook messages to his ex-partner, initially loving in tone, but becoming increasingly volatile.

Cardwell was arrested on the cycle track close to Ryelands Park at 10.10am on Sunday February 19 when a member of the public recognised him after seeing a report in the local newspaper.